After running a ‘run-riot’ in three different venues in a gap of just seven days, India and England will be back in the spotlight once again as they face off each other at Kanpur’s Green Park Stadium on January 26 in the first T20I of the three-match series.
With six changes in the squad, Virat Kohli and Anil Kumble will have a tough time picking the playing XI. Here is our expected final XI for the first T20I:
1. KL Rahul
Last year, KL Rahul became the third Indian to score a century in T20 international cricket and despite his poor performance in the ODI series, the management would back him to come good.
2. Rishabh Pant
It’s getting tough to keep Rishabh Pant out of the playing XI with each passing match and the 19-year-old should make his international debut at Kanpur.
3. Virat Kohli
The Indian had an admirable 12 months in 2016 in the shortest format scoring 1166 runs at an unbelievable average of 106 and would look to continue the good work.
4. Yuvraj Singh
Yuvraj answered all the doubts about his form and fitness with the magnificent knock of 150 runs in the Cuttack ODI and looked good during his innings of 45 in Kolkata as well. He will bring experience to India’s middle-order.
5. MS Dhoni
With Yuvraj making a comeback into the side, Dhoni has moved to number 5 and it looks like the best slot for him as well. Not only it allows him to build the innings but also gives him a chance to finish it on a good note.
6. Suresh Raina
Raina has been out of the Indian side since the 2016 ICC T20 World Cup and would like to carry his good domestic form at the international level.
7. Hardik Pandya
Pandya has been the biggest find for India in last 12 months. He contributes in all the departments of the game and is making himself a valuable asset for the team.
8. Parvez Rasool
In Ravindra Jadeja’s absence, Rasool from Jammu and Kashmir should take the responsibility of the spinning all-rounder.
9. Amit Mishra
The leg-spinner had an outstanding ODI series against New Zealand last year where he finished as the Man of the Series with 15 wickets and would look to impress again.
10. Jasprit Bumrah
Bumrah didn’t have a very good ODI series but finished 2016 as the best T20 bowler in the world and that should be enough to get him in the playing XI.
11. Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Bhuvi has been a total revelation in last one year. He has increased his pace, got his swing back and improved his Yorker. His performance in the final two ODIs should be enough to get him a place in the side ahead of veteran Ashish Nehra.
Complete squad: Lokesh Rahul, Mandeep Singh, Rishabh Pant, Virat Kohli (captain), Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (wk), Suresh Raina, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Parvez Rasool, Amit Mishra, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ashish Nehra, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar.